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Organizations around Memphis to honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy

MLK Drawing

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia, 90 years ago. Memphians will have the opportunity Jan. 21 to participate in several events to commemorate Dr. King’s life and legacy.

 1. The National Civil Rights Museum

NCM will allow free admission to those who donate canned goods to the Mid-South Food Bank or give blood for Vitalant, one of the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit community blood service provider. Any form of donation allows a donor and three guests free admission on MLK day as well as any other day in 2019.

There will also be performances and trivia contests among many other activities for people that day. The tour will include the exhibit “Without Regard to Race or Color: The Past, Present and Future of One Historically Black College,†which will be a visual of Morris Brown College’s remains, an HBCU that shut down in 2003 because of scandals and financial disparities.

Guests are welcome to tour the museum from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Community service opportunities are also being offered to Memphians. 

2. Leadership Memphis 

Leadership Memphis, a community leadership organization, will host a weekend of service from Jan.18 to 21. Neighborhood cleanups, assistance with tax preparation along with reading programs will be offered in various areas of the Mid-South.

The kickoff event will take place at the Benjamin L. Hooks Library from 5:30 to 7 p.m. 

3. Memphis Grizzlies game

The Grizzlies will host its annual “Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration†game Monday against the New Orleans Pelicans. The game will start at 4:30 p.m., and someone will receive the National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy Award.

The halftime ceremony, which is presented by Mid-South Ford Dealers, will feature a Dr. King tribute video, as well as a performance by Grammy Awardward-winning singer Anthony Hamilton.

4. Premiere of Civil Rights Movement documentary film 

“Once More at the River: From MLK to BLM†will premiere Jan. 22 at 6 p.m. in the University Center Theatre at the University of Memphis.

 The documentary centers on local activists and their reflections on the past 50 years of the Civil Rights Movement, from the Sanitation Strike in the late 1960s to the MLK50 celebration last year, which marked 50 years since his assassination at the Lorraine Motel in Downtown Memphis. 

The activists discuss the impact both activism and history have on the lives of African-Americans today around the United States and then looking to the future of the movement. UofM students conducted most of the interviews in 2018, and the project was directed by three university faculty: Aram Goudsouzian (history professor), Joe Hayden (journalism professor) and Roxane Coche (former journalism professor).

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